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Manchester United coach reveals how he helped Mikel Arteta turn things around at Arsenal

Man United coach Steve McClaren has revealed what he told Mikel Arteta about how to fix Arsenal’s problems when he became manager in 2019

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Mikel Arteta FA Cup
Image credit: Getty Images

Arsenal have emerged as genuine contenders for the Premier League title under Mikel Arteta, with much of their success echoing observations made by Manchester United coach Steve McClaren.

Upon Arteta’s appointment in 2019, succeeding Unai Emery, McClaren was among the first to identify the areas needing improvement at Arsenal. At the time of Arteta’s arrival, Arsenal languished in 10th place in the Premier League, trailing fourth-placed Chelsea by seven points.

While Arsenal’s league position improved marginally to eighth during the disrupted 2019/20 season, Arteta marked his tenure by winning the FA Cup. Fast forward to the present, and Arsenal could clinch the Premier League title if they defeat Everton in their final match and West Ham United manage at least a draw against current leaders Manchester City.

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Arsenal currently boasts the best defensive record in the Premier League and the second-highest goal-scoring tally. Interestingly, many of the strategies implemented by Arsenal this season seem to align with insights shared by McClaren before Mikel Arteta fully settled at the Emirates Stadium.

Manchester United coach Steve McClaren on what he told Arsenal boss

Manchester United coach Steve McClaren (Image credit: Getty Images)

During a 2019 appearance on Sky Sports News, McClaren outlined the key areas Arteta needed to address to improve Arsenal’s fortunes. 


“All he needs to do is address their attitudes in terms of when they haven’t got the ball. “When they haven’t got the ball there’s no speed in recovering into shape, there’s no speed in recovering the ball within five seconds, which is Man City’s philosophy when they lose the ball. There’s no responsibility in terms of going with runners defending.”

He added: “Defenders are dropping too deep, they are not going and pressing it, they are not mobile and athletic enough to play the way he’ll probably want to play. He could change that a little bit but he can also change that in the transfer market.”

Arteta’s approach to strengthening Arsenal’s squad has been evident in his transfer dealings. In his first window, he bolstered the midfield and defense with signings like Gabriel Magalhaes, Thomas Partey, and Cedric Soares, along with securing Martin Odegaard on loan. 

Subsequent transfer windows saw further reinforcement with the acquisitions of Ben White, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Nuno Tavares, and Albert Sambi Lokonga, in addition to making Odegaard’s loan move permanent.

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